June 14, 2022

E331: The Inner Critic | CPTSD and Trauma Healing Podcast

Is your inner critic keeping you from going forward? Listen to this episode as I dive into the one thing that may be keeping you stuck....
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e331-the-inner-critic-cptsd-and-trauma-healing-podcast/#show-notes

Is your inner critic keeping you from going forward? Listen to this episode as I dive into the one thing that may be keeping you stuck.

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What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing all my friends. I'm gonna start today's episode because I was thinking about something really, really important. Today, I was thinking about the inner critic, let's thinking about the conversations we have with ourselves. You know, you hear me say all the time that “what you think becomes what you speak, what you speak become your actions, your action become your reality.” And I remembered if you're watching on video, I'm holding my hand up tab out took copy of Pete Walker book Complex PTSD from surviving the thriving. And I remember when I was thinking about this idea of the inner critic was that he had written a chapter in his book that I'd highlighted couple of years ago that really stuck out to me and so, I keep a list on my phone of all the podcast ideas that I have, I don't know if you can see this but this list is incredibly long it's gotta be, I think there's probably three hundred topics I've put together. So, it's going through the topics because ninety nine percent of the time I kinda just freestyle this show, I don't know if you've noticed, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing but it's my thing and on the one percent where I cannot come up with an idea, I will go through that list and on that list kinda halfway through was an inner critic and I was like, oh shit, I wanted to talk about this because it was something I was just thinking about the other day and it was perfect because I remembered then Pete’s book.

So, I'm actually gonna read out of the book here, I'm gonna talk to you about this and what it actually really means in a way that I think will dramatically change your life.

It's titled “Inner critic, hindrances to grieving”

Let me create context first and this my definition of it is that grieving when it comes to your childhood is about the willingness to have sadness that fucking bad things happened, the willingness to literally grieve over the loss of a childhood, the grieving of the experience of the pain, of the suffering of all the things that came along with it and through grieving and this was my experience for sure was that through grieving I felt an immense sense of self love and peace and hope which I know sounds weird, I think I need to do an episode as a continuation of this which I will probably get into about grieving specifically because it's really important as a context. So, you'll hear therapist and people in this space often talk about the idea that you should grieve your losses and your childhood in the same way that you would death and I've spoken that before, I believe that to be true because it does bring this beautiful sense of peace along with it. You know, I had lot of tears, a lot of anger, a lot of journal entries around grieving my childhood and it's really practical. So, it's something we'll get into, there's some context in previous episodes but not a in episode so, I'm gonna get to that. I think that I had found that the inner critic work actually came before the grieving process so that's why I'm decided to actually having this conversation probably out of order you know again, I don't think there's a right or wrong to any of this, it's just what I felt worked the best for me.

Getting to this inner critic hindrances to grieving.

The greatest hindrance to effectively grieving is typically the inner critic. When the critic is especially toxic, grieving may be counterproductive and contra indicated in early recovery, those who were repeatedly pathologized and punished for emoting a childhood may experience grieving as exacerbating their flashbacks rather than relieving them.

What does that mean? I wanna explain that to you if you don't understand what that means.

When you're punished as a child for having an emotional experience and then you move into adulthood and you have emotional experiences there is a pathology to that in which this idea about exacerbating is that you fucking destroy yourself for being a human being. And that is really dangerous and that's where you get into, I call it self shit talking like honestly like it really is you're just shit taught, you're destroying yourself you're bullet yourself or if you read Think Unbroken, you know that I call it being in the vortex.

So, you have to understand one of the aspects that can be a gateway to success in this journey is to remove that massively critical inner dialogue with yourself. Again, I know that I've said ad nauseam said it a million times on this show but this inner critic, this vortex is fucking you up and every single day you're not addressing it you're in trouble.

(So, I'm gonna back to the book)

I'm actually gonna read that paragraph again because I think it's that important.

... The greatest hindrance to effectively grieving is typically the inner critic. When the critic is especially toxic, grieving may be counterproductive and contra indicated in early recovery, those who were repeatedly pathologized and punished for emoting a childhood may experience grieving as exacerbating their flashbacks rather than relieving them. 

I have worked with numerous survivors whose tears immediately triggered them into toxic shame. Their own potentially soothing tears, elicit, terrible self-attacks. I'm so pathetic no wonder no one can stand me, I'm so unlovable when I snuggle like this, I'm a fuck up and then make myself more of a loser by whining about it. What good is crying for yourself only makes you weaker. This latter response is particularly ironic for once grieving is protected from the critic nothing can restore a person's inner strength and coping capacity like a good cry. I've diffused active suicidality on dozens of occasions by simply eliciting the suffering person's tears.

Think about that for a moment.

I told you a long time ago, I don't know if you listen to the show or not then I couldn't cry for fifteen years and I carried all this anger, all this shame, all this guilt, all this the self-talk, what I just read in this book is nothing compared to what I used to say to myself like, I wanna even allow myself to use words remotely close to that anymore because I realized the power of them and realize the power of crying and that it's actually incredibly cathartic and healing and it's meant for you.

You were built with fucking tear ducts like think about that for a second, right? Like it is a part of the human experience to have emotional crying and both of happiness and sadness. I remember one of the really interesting ways that I've measured this journey is through crying. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before but I must have, I can't imagine I didn't it. America's got talent, I had to have mentioned this before America’s got talent is my guilty pleasure because I love seeing people do incredibly beautiful things and every time somebody gets the fucking golden buzzer which is like, in this talent show and you're participating and some people are getting boo to some people or not but if you get the golden buzzer that means you did such a good job that you're automatically going to the next level on this show and it's a contest, right? And every time somebody gets the golden buzzer, I literally just fucking happy cry and I cannot control it and I don't try to stop it either in chairs will just be like streaming down my face I'm smiling, I'm like this is weird. And I remember the first time that I did have that happy cry only had come, it had only come after I had allowed myself the space to be okay with it, to not beat myself up, to not be mean to myself, to not yell at myself or scream at myself for being an emotional human being but instead just to simply acknowledge I am an emotional human being and that's okay and it's okay to be that because you are.

You're not weak because you cry and you're not a loser because you're emotional and you're not a piece of shit because you don't have a fucking Maserati it's fine but you have to let go and you have to understand that inner critic and those words that you use, the voice inside your own head you have to give it the space to heal and to love it and to be compassionate with it and to reinforce that you are not that emotion and in fact you are no emotion; emotions come and go they are not static they ebb and flow like everything in life and if you can ebb flow with that and you can grieve that past experience and just let go of it, just cry through it, be angry through it, suffer through it like honestly, I hate to use that word in this capacity but there's some truth to it you kinda have to like suffer through how awful the past was, to get to the present, to get to the future and in that when you recognize that inner critic, that voice in your head is controlling you, controlling you instead of you controlling it everything becomes different.

And I remember the way I used to beat myself up and so much of that voice, so much of that language was actually my step father's language, my mother's language, my grandmother's language, my community like it was not my language. We talk about that, this is that space in which trauma is the theft of identity because it becomes literally your language that your nomenclature, self-abuse becomes literally your nomenclature it's the way that you speak to yourself, it's the framework, it's your etymology, it's everything until it's not.

And I encourage and I hope that you'll give yourself the space to move through that, to allow that inner critic to subside, to recognize that you're not weak, you're not a fucking loser, you’re not a piece of shit. You're having a bad day, yep, maybe, fucking bad days happen but you keep going, keep persevere and you keep moving forward no matter what you build your confidence, you prove to yourself what you're capable of because that voice in your head is not your fucking voice, not your voice and if you want to remove that voice, if you wanna have that voice subside and go away and you have to make it go away and you do that through the work, do things like this these moments to new ideas, to planting seeds, to all of the whatever is next for you in your life.

And I encourage you if you have not read complex PTSD from surviving the thriving by Pete Walker and highly recommend it, I've taken some of those courses, I have some certifications from him. This book is phenomenal, I highly, highly recommend it.

And so, that said to be a short episode, just some for you guys to think about. Thank you for being here Unbroken Nation means the world to me. Make sure you grab your copy of Think Unbroken for FREE if you go to book.thinkunbroken.com and if you are man keep in mind, I am getting ready to launch the Unbroken Man in depth trauma transformation mastermind six-month program where details to come but you can check that out if you go over to theunbrokenman.com, you can also get early wait list information if you go sign up for the email. There's also a free course that's on there, I don't know if it'll be on there when this comes out but it's very close so, you can sign up for the wait list to get that theunbrokenman.com

Thank you, guys, so much Unbroken Nation, means the world to me.

Thank you for being here.

And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see you.

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Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.